Beef and Cheese Empanadas are always high on my list of favorite comfort foods. Flavorful meat, melted cheese, and a crispy dough are the perfect appetizer or anytime snack. Especially when paired with my favorite chimichurri dipping sauce!
On my recent trip to South America, my wife and I ate the best homemade beef and cheese empanadas everywhere we went. The most memorable ones were from a restaurant in Buenos Aires called Peron Peron. Their crispy beef empanadas were so freakin’ delicious, I couldn’t wait to get back and share my twist on the recipe with you.
Table of Contents
- Why You’ll Love Easy Beef Empanadas
- Beef & Cheese Empanadas Ingredients
- 3 Secrets to Making Perfect Beef Empanadas
- What to Serve with Homemade Empanadas
- Leftovers and Reheating
- This sauce is FYR!
- Flavor X Fire & FOOD X Fire
- Beef and Cheese Empanadas Recipe
Why You’ll Love Easy Beef Empanadas
Beef and cheese empanadas are Latin America’s hot pockets, only better. The filling ingredients are an irresistible fusion of ground beef and melted cheese. The best part may be biting into the crispy, golden-brown crust.
As snacks, appetizers, or even main courses, the beef empanadas recipe is unbeatable for its versatility. The homemade goodness, customizability, and pairing with dipping sauces make these empanadas a no-fail way to please a hungry crowd.
Beef & Cheese Empanadas Ingredients
- Delicious Beef Filling – Ground beef, yellow onions, red bell peppers, and beef broth are a simply satisfying combo.
- Heat for the Meat – My popular FYR RED hot sauce brings flavor and heat to the empanada filling.
- Meat Seasonings – Kosher salt, black pepper, and garlic powder are the perfect meat seasonings.
- Empanada Dough – You can usually find pre-made empanada dough at a grocery store. Or, you can make your empanada dough at home. See my bonus recipe below.
- Cheese – For my recipe, I decided on Jack Cheese to complement the ground meat. However, a good cheddar, pepper jack, or Mexican cheese would also work.
- Onions – Green onions add a burst of fresh onion flavor to the filling.
- Neutral Oil – The best frying oil for empanadas is one with a high smoke point and a neutral flavor. Vegetable oil, canola oil, and peanut oil are commonly used due to their ability to achieve a crisp, golden-brown exterior without imparting unwanted tastes. Avocado oil is another great choice.
- Chimichurri Sauce – Argentinian Chimichurri sauce is usually made with dried herbs. However, I prefer when it’s made with fresh ingredients. Neither is wrong, because it’s all up to your preference! Mine is a combo of fresh parsley, minced garlic, oregano, red pepper flakes, red wine vinegar, and olive oil.
Homemade Empanada Dough Recipe
Making homemade dough is a lot like making pastry dough or pie dough. Here’s a quick and easy recipe.
- In a large bowl, combine 3 cups of all-purpose flour and 1/2 teaspoon of salt. Add 8 ounces (2 sticks) of cold, cubed butter, and use a pastry cutter or your fingers to mix until the mixture looks like coarse crumbs.
- In a small bowl, mix one large egg with 1/2 cup ice water and 1 tablespoon of white vinegar.
- Gradually add this wet mixture to the flour mixture, using your hands to form a dough. On a lightly floured surface, knead the dough just long enough to form a ball. Wrap the dough in plastic and chill for at least 30 minutes.
- Roll out the dough to 1/8 to 1/4 inch thickness, then use a large round cutter or bowl edges to make discs. Before frying let the discs come up to room temperature on a baking sheet.
Bell Pepper & Onions
Your first move for preparing the beef empanada feast is to preheat your fire to a high temperature (around 400° degrees F) for direct cooking. Place a cast iron skillet on the fire’s grill gates, allowing it to preheat for 2 minutes.
Add the chopped yellow onions and bell peppers to the skillet, cooking for 5-7 minutes until the onions turn translucent.
Then, pour in the beef broth and simmer for an additional 5-7 minutes. Once done, remove the veggies from the skillet and set them aside.
In the same large skillet, cook ground beef with kosher salt, black pepper, garlic powder, and the FYR RED Hot Sauce until the beef is browned.
Reintroduce the cooked veggies to the skillet, mix everything, and transfer the meat and veggies into a bowl. Cover and refrigerate for at least 1-2 hours to allow complete cooling.
Filling the Beef Empanada Discs
After the filling has cooled, add the chopped green onions and the shredded cheese, stirring thoroughly.
Take one empanada dough disc, placing a spoonful of the filling at the center of one side. Carefully fold the opposite side over, creating a half-moon shape.
Gently press down the outer layer of the disc to seal the beef and cheese empanadas. Optionally, use a fork to press down along the edge for added sealing, or employ a twisting technique as I did for mine.
Repeat this process until all empanadas are prepared and ready for the hot oil.
Heat frying oil in a Dutch oven to 350° degrees F. Once ready, carefully add the empanadas to the skillet, frying for about 1.5-2 minutes per side until golden brown. Fry in batches so that there is no crowding in the fryer. Once done, remove them from the skillet and let them cool for 1 minute.
Serve with chimichurri on the side and enjoy!
3 Secrets to Making Perfect Beef Empanadas
First, for a better seal make sure your dough is at room temperature. Next, wait for the beef mixture filling to cool before wrapping in the pastry dough (without overstuffing) so that it doesn’t start cooking the dough. Lastly, make sure the frying oil is hot enough so that the cheesy beef empanadas get cooked and crispy brown on the outside.
What to Serve with Homemade Empanadas
If you want to turn the beef and cheese empanadas into a lunch, serve with a simple green salad or a classic Argentine salad with sliced cabbage, carrots, tomatoes, crushed garlic, some oregano, a drizzle of olive oil, and a pinch of salt.
Leftovers and Reheating
If you have any leftover beef and cheese empanadas, make sure they cool before wrapping them in plastic wrap and placing them in an airtight container or freezer bag. They can stay in the fridge for 3-5 days before reheating. Or, you can place them in the freezer where they can remain for up to 2 months, especially if you use a good quality vacuum sealer.
While this recipe calls for beef, the possibilities are endless. You can swap the beef with ground lamb or ground turkey, or hey, maybe try the empanada recipe with some leftover beef brisket or BBQ pulled pork!
Yes, you can prepare the empanada dough ahead of time and refrigerate it for up to 24 hours.
In Mexico, empanadas often feature a masa harina dough, while Argentine beef empanadas typically use a flakier wheat flour-based pastry dough. Mexican empanadas are generally smaller than Argentine empanadas.
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Beef and Cheese Empanadas
Beef & Veggies:
- 1.5 lbs Ground Beef
- 2 medium Yellow Onions diced
- 2 Red Bell Peppers diced
- 1 cup Beef Broth
- 1.5 tbsp FYR RED Hot Sauce
- 1 tbsp Kosher Salt
- 1 tbsp Black Pepper
- 1 tbsp Garlic Powder
- Empanada Dough Ball for 12-16 Discs
- 2 cups Jack Cheese shredded
- 1 cup Green Onions sliced
- 1 qt Frying Oil
- Chimichurri for serving
Beef & Veggies:
- Preheat your fire to a high heat (around 400 degrees F) for direct cooking. Add a cast iron skillet to preheat 2 minutes before cooking.
- Add into your skillet the onions and bell peppers. Cook for 5-7 minutes until the onions are translucent.
- Next, add your beef broth and simmer for another 5-7 minutes. When good, pull out the veggies and set to the side.
- Next, add your ground beef, kosher salt, black pepper, garlic powder and FYR RED Hot Sauce. Cook until the ground beef is browned and you have reduced all the excess liquid.
- When good, add the veggies back to the skillet and mix together. Pull the skillet off and place the meat & veggies into a bowl.
- Cover and place in the fridge for at least 1-2 hours to fully cool.
- Pull the filling and add in your green onions and shredded cheese. Stir thoroughly.
- Set out one empanada dough disc and place a spoonful of the filling at the center of one side of the disc.
- Carefully fold over the opposite side so that you have a half-moon shape. Gently press down the outside layer of the discs so that the empanada is sealed. Now, you can either additionally seal the empanada by pressing the edge of a fork down along the outside layer, or you can fold the outside layer using a twisting technique.
- Repeat all this until all the empanadas are done.
- Heat up frying oil in a Dutch oven to 350 degrees F.
- Once ready, carefully add your empanadas into the skillet to fry for about 1.5-2 minutes per side or until they are golden brown. Do this in batches if necessary.
- Onced the empanadas are done, pull them off and let them cool for 1 minute.
- Serve with the chimichurri on the side and enjoy!